Columbia man sentenced to 45 years in prison for murder

Monday, December 10, 2007 | 3:37 p.m. CST; updated 5:30 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

COLUMBIA — A Columbia man found guilty of the murder of Carlos Kelly was sentenced Monday morning to 45 years in prison.

Travis Midgyett, 28, was found guilty of first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree murder on Nov. 9 for the 2006 slaying of Kelly, 34.

Saying that since Midgyett took a life, he should serve life in prison, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Steven Berry recommended that Midgyett get 30 years for the robbery and life for the murder.

Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton sentenced Midgyett instead to 20 years for the robbery and 25 years for the murder to be served consecutively.

After his first trial in March ended in a hung jury, Midgyett was tried a second time in November.

In March 2006, Kelly was found dead in his home on Cynthia Drive, The cause of death was determined to be from a blow to the head with a landscaping timber.

Midgyett, along with Rodney Cunningham, 30, and Felson Barney, 29, were charged with the murder. Charges against Barney were dropped after a witness recanted his statement; Cunningham was found guilty of first-degree attempted robbery and second-degree murder in May.

In exchange for his testimony during Midgyett’s second trial, Cunningham received a lesser sentence of 20 years for each charge to be served concurrently. He testified that Midgyett swung the landscaping timber that struck and killed Kelly,

During the sentencing, Midgyett’s attorney, Christopher Slusher, said Midgyett should be granted a new trial because it was an error to allow the state to present evidence that he was a drug dealer. Slusher claimed that the evidence from Midgyett’s previous criminal record was “not strictly necessary and extremely prejudicial in the case.”

Slusher also challenged Cunningham’s testimony, which he noted was the only difference between Midgyett’s first and second trials, and the testimony of Angela Young, who was present the night Kelly was killed.

After Hamilton overruled the request for a retrial, Slusher requested an appeal on behalf of Midgyett.

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